Facebook has took a stab at the social shopping market, but there hasn’t been much traction. When they first rolled out “Facebook Deals” in April 2011, I was a bit skeptical and even rated the experience a 6 out of 10.
A year later and the news has broke out…Facebook Offers will be the next valid try at competing with Groupon. CNET has a good point that with the upcoming IPO, this may be their shot at gaining some traction with their Groupon killer. Could be…the future is in Facebook’s hands.
The idea of Facebook offers is good…the offers appear in your News Feed and give you quick call to actions to like, comment, share AND “Get Offer.” Easy enough and the offer will be sent to you via email or to your mobile phone.
Now, I do have to admit that my recent experiences with Groupon have not been pleasant. The buying experience with Groupon is great, but its when I present the Groupon at an actual restaurant or store. I seem to get unpleasant service as a result…almost like they treat me bad because of the coupon. I sure hope this does not continue with Facebook Offers.
Facebook Offers also gives people more incentive to “like” a particular company/store b/c with likes come offers…and with offers comes opportunities to SAVE money. Who doesn’t like that? Facebook can use their BILLION dollar user base to really become a challenger and if done right they can become THE leader.
Here’s a video showcasing the new “Offer” on Facebook:
The app uses all of the data that is captured ALREADY by iPhones and Androids and you better believe Apple/Google are already storing this data about us. So really its nothing new, except for now “there’s an app for that.”
The premise of this app is pretty cool (not scary) since it uses anything innate within a phone to capture every place you drive to, order from or visit (home, work, school, stores and extra-curricular activities -> wink wink) without the need to check in–the cool factor = its automatic!
[By the way, this app is FREE and available now in the iTunes app store]
There are a few key features that this app needs to either introduce or continue to build on:
Reviews - Enhanced integration with Yelp! This will help me favorite places that I’ve been to based on Yelp reviews OR write quick reviews for places I’ve visited (without a need to remember the name of the location…What was that place called again?) + AUTOMATED ALERTS that pop up if I drive by a location that fits my defined Yelp criteria (example: restaurants with 4 star rating and two $$ symbols)
Deals - Integration with deal sites like Living Social and Groupon. Again, based on my location that is already gathered, being able to provide me with deals that are relevant to my tastes and preferences. What better way to increase my likelihood of buying a Groupon + NOTE TO GROUPON, reach out and integrate with this app…I’d use you more
Favorites - Give me the ability to favorite AND group a location I visited. Imagine having a list of favorite destinations by: Top Places to Grub… Favorite Romantic Hot Spots… Unforgettable Wine Tastings
Suggestions – Based on my favorites and defined criteria suggest new places for me to visit. This can range anywhere from restaurants, bars or shops + ESPECIALLY VALUABLE WHEN TRAVELING, so many times I’m traveling to different cities and have no idea where to go…this app can solve that problem for me
PlaceMe could be THE app that changes how we interact with our phones and find new places to visit. It could be a game changer and make privacy an irrelevant issue. Heck, this app could be my new travel agent! Or, the public at large might be too scared and instead backlash–but just remember, Apple and Google are already storing this information about you so its nothing NEW.
Here’s a demo of the app…check it out! By the way, the app is free!
Discovered an interesting article asking if Groupon should acquire Foursquare? This is tricky and at first does seem like a good business move for Groupon. But who will this benefit more…Groupon or Foursquare? Hands down, Foursquare will be the big winner and it makes sense. Foursquare is looking for ways to make money and Groupon has that down pat. What does Groupon gain? The biggest gain is Foursquare’s users, but thats really it.
I’d argue that Groupon will gain most from partnering with Yelp. IMO, Groupon’s biggest competitor is Facebook Deals and they will need to make bigger partnerships to stay on top. I still prefer Groupon over Facebook, but thats now…things may change.
Here’s what Groupon needs to be thinking about in order to stay on top:
Engage Facebook and Twitter posts with “deals” – Groupon is awesome, they have daily deals and make it easy for users to make purchases. But how do they keep users on their site? Perhaps integrate FB and Twitter posts with people who have bought the daily deal.
Allow “ratings” for Groupons – This is valuable and will help future users make purchases. I’ve noticed that some companies use Groupon over and over again to attract new customers, this is great! However, why now allow users to rate their experience using a Groupon at a specific store for future use. I know of a few friends who have had bad experiences (company giving bad service b/c of a Groupon, company not accepting Groupon code from iPhone).
Create categories for Groupons – Location-based Groupons are great, it works and its the easiest way for me to find a Groupon near me. But what about those Groupon deals (like Fandango) that you can use in any location? Categorizing those type of offers into groups (Movies, Music, Entertainment, Sporting, etc)
I commend Groupon for joining partnerships with other social tools, but keep growing and improving the user experience. User experience is one key advantage you have over Facebook. Don’t settle for the small buy-outs and instead take some risks and make big splashes. It’s the only way you can compete with big companies. Just hope that Google doesn’t get into the “deal” business.
Social Deals is set to challenge the likes of Groupon and LivingSocial, but is Facebook doing the right thing? Let’s take a look at Facebook Places vs Foursquare, did it do justice and become a true challenger? Not really, yes I personally stopped using Foursquare, but not b/c of Facebook. FB places just become another check-in site (like yelp). It offered no real “reward” for checking in; at least with Foursquare department stores started offering promotion codes.
Now with Social Deals, Facebook has a lot of catching up to do. As a heavy user of Groupon, Facebook needs to stay on top of their competitive edge and run with it. Social Deals must be more user friendly, make it easier to purchase coupons and keep track of existing used and non-used coupons. See what other people think…
Take a look at some screen shots of what the new deals page looks like on fb:
DEAL OVERVIEW PAGE
INDIVIDUAL DEAL PAGE
My first impression is 6/10 stars. Facebook needs to provide additional value than Groupon. Honestly, all of the sites have the same deals, but which one is going to make it EASIEST for me to use? I sure hope Facebook improves this. And…hopefully when I buy a Facebook Deal, the whold world doesn’t find out!